Austra – Future Politics

We all know and love this one already right? Austra‘s Future Politics may have been released on an inauspicious day, but far from settling into a third-record torpor, Katie Stelmanis has taken her project to the ionosphere (that’s well above the stratosphere) with a magnificent collection of beautiful, utopian/dystopian darkly electronic pop songs, almost any of which could stand alone as singles.

The lead singles sound even better in the context of the full-album arc, with the defiant “Future Politics” and the better-world longing of “Utopia” merely the opening statements in an album full of intelligent, minimal pop songs with banging beats. The production is crisper, rawer, and more direct than ever before, and perhaps that’s because this time Stelmanis mixed the record herself (collaborating with bandmate Maya Postepski on production as usual and live engineer Alice Wilder on mixing). A work of genius without a dull moment, Future Politics is Austra’s best album yet in an already-storied career.

Available now from Bandcamp.

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Teen Daze – Themes For Dying Earth

Over the years, Abbotsford‘s Jamison Isaak, aka Teen Daze, has given us no end of treasures, with a discography of albums and EPs ranging from the blissfully psychedelic to the austerely ambient. But there’s something about Themes For Dying Earth, his fifth full-length album, that both synthesizes all his previous work and yet goes even deeper. The themes are familiar: paying attention and properly valuing the people and world around us, and recognizing their fragility. But this time, it feels like he’s discovered whole new plateau of masterful ambient pop. Stunning minimalist pieces appear in between brilliant, delicate pop songs, often featuring guest singers. An intricate, infinitely rewarding listen, Themes for Dying Earth is one of the finest records of the young year.

Themes for Dying Earth is available now digitally and on vinyl from Teen Daze’s own Flora Records. Teen Daze is currently on tour in North America, with shows in Montreal and Toronto this weekend. Check out the dates on Bandcamp.

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Album Premiere: Loveland – Chill For You

Loveland: land of the love, land of the chill. Halifax singer-songwriter Robert Loveless’ five-piece band once again proves to be a reliable and exciting groove-making machine, with each song off of their newest album being a testament to their strengths as a band.

Loveless is still the Prince to his band’s Revolution, but it’s their collective neo-retro charm that makes Chill For You superb. Clearly these people have mastered the art of the slow-jam: third song “Lonely Life,” a duet that features vocals from keyboardist Rindy McDonald, deserves a nod for being such an endearing mix of ’80s nostalgia and twee pop. But opener “925 5212” is the best of the bunch, with its smooth electro-funk production and awesome falsetto hook. Indie-pop gold.

The band will be touring in support of this new release; check out the dates on their website.

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